Scientists have registered a super-powerful particle arriving on Earth from the depths of space. Its energy is comparable to the energy of a flying hockey puck or a brick falling on your toe from waist height. The particle is also called a ray, according to a report from the University of Utah, which disseminated the information. But the mystery is different: it is not clear where it came from.
The first one was “Oh My God”
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that such a super-powerful particle had been observed only once before, in the now distant 1991. Then, during the Eye of the Fly experiment, a cosmic ray of such high energy was detected that shocked astrophysicists called it “Oh My God”.
It was obvious to scientists that nothing in our galaxy could produce it. The energy of that particle was even greater than is theoretically possible for cosmic rays arriving from other galaxies. There was a stir because such a particle, simply put, should not exist! There was talk that traditional physics did not work, since it could not predict this event. Or, not far from us (by astronomical standards, of course) there is an invisible source of particles of monstrous energy. But astrophysicists know that there is simply no such source.
Since then, telescopes have detected more than 30 ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, but none have come close to the one demonstrated by the Oh My God particle. Scientists gradually calmed down and decided that the 1991 event was a statistical anomaly.
“What the hell is going on?”
And now it turns out that a second similar particle has arrived on Earth. This happened back in 2021, but a scientific article was published in the journal Science only now (scientists are leisurely people, the results of experiments require verification and review).
The discovery was made as part of the international Telescope Array project. This installation, located in the Utah desert, bears little resemblance to a telescope. It consists of a grid of 507 detectors (metal boxes) spaced 0.7 miles apart and covering an area of 270 square miles. When charged particles enter the detector, the plates inside them glow, the time of illumination is recorded and processed. This is how scientists record cosmic rays.
“On May 27, 2021, the Telescope Array experiment detected the second largest extreme energy cosmic ray. The energy of this single subatomic particle is equivalent to a brick falling onto your toe from waist height,” the University of Utah said in a statement.
When the particle arrived on Earth, 23 detectors were activated; they covered an area of 48 square kilometers. The event immediately began to be analyzed and reconstructed in order to understand where the source was.
“These particles have such high energy that they should not be affected by galactic and extragalactic magnetic fields. You should be able to point out where they came from in the sky. But in the case of the “Oh my God” particle and now with this new particle, we trace its trajectory to the source and see that there is nothing there that could produce it! That’s the mystery – what the hell is going on?” says study co-author John Matthews.
“I spit out crazy ideas”
An international team of researchers decided to name the mysterious particle Amaterasu, after the Sun Goddess from Japanese mythology. The authors of the article emphasize that Oh My God and Amaterasu were discovered using various observation methods, but these events themselves are very real. Although extremely rare.
“These events seem to come from completely different places in the sky. It’s not like there’s one mysterious source in space. Perhaps there are defects in the structure of space-time, colliding cosmic strings. “I just spit out the crazy ideas that come to mind because there’s really no explanation,” reflects another co-author of the study, Professor John Belz.
Another scientist, Professor Toshihiro Fujii from Japan, also notes that the direction from which the mysterious particle arrived does not correspond to any known astronomical object. This may indicate the existence of phenomena unknown to scientists or new physical principles.
Local void and relativistic jets
The type of particle could not be determined: it was very difficult to do, even AI did not help.
What sources such particles is still unknown. Not only these, but also those that are 10 times less powerful, which are called ultra-high-energy cosmic rays. When taking a map of galaxies in the local Universe, in a sphere with a radius of about 750 million light years, and looked at which galaxies lie in the direction from which this particle came, there was nothing in this direction – the so-called local void.
There is also a phenomenon in space called a relativistic jet. This is a stream of high-energy particles that shoots out from the poles of any neutron star or black hole. If the black hole is very large, like in the center of the Galaxy, then the jet is even visible. And if the source is a compact object such as a neutron star, then the stream of particles is visible only if the jet shines directly at us.
Therefore, something flying somewhere nearby is releasing relativistic jets and you need to look for the source not in a galaxy far, far away, but in the Solar System.
The source this unknown, but as the film about 2012 clearly shows, increased flows of gamma rays heat up the Earth’s core. As a result, the incomprehensible emitter that emits these rays may be seen by scientists and not be in time.
While some scientists are surprised by what comes to us from space, others, such as Egon Cholakian, a scientist at NASA and CERN, said in his public address that every 12,000 years our solar system passes through a stream of cosmic radiation – this is a cycle and it is inevitable. We have only slightly touched it, but the reactions of our Sun and planet are palpable. Incessant earthquakes, activation of volcanoes, abnormal weather manifestations, solar flares causing strong and prolonged magnetic storms.
When our system is completely immersed in this powerful energy flow, it will no longer be possible to get out of it without catastrophic consequences for humanity. But until the point of no return is passed, there is a chance – if human life in our society becomes more important than constant strife and conflicts.